Free Advent eBook

I received this from our friends at Desiring God today:

Dear Friends,

I’m excited to tell you about a new free eBook for Advent from Desiring God. It’s called Good News of Great Joy, organized specifically for this Advent, 2012.

The team here at Desiring God did a deep dive into our thirty-plus-year reservoir of sermons and articles, and selected brief devotional readings for each day of Advent. Our hope is that God would use these readings to deepen and sweeten your adoration of Jesus this Advent… (Continue reading and download the eBook)

John Piper
and David Mathis, Executive Editor

If you are looking for a devotional guide for personal and/or family use during this Advent season, this just may be your ticket.

How Don't I Love Thee?

Valentine’s Day.

Upon finishing this post, I will grill for my bride and we will spend our 35th February 14th together cocooning at home. What a gift.

I confess I’m not much of a poet or even lover of poetry (much to my detriment, I suspect), but my thoughts turned today to Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous Sonnet 43, as I think of the love I have for Nancy.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Missing from the all in those last three lines of how I love my wife, I must all too painfully admit, until of late, would be prayers. Breath, smiles, tears, and prayers, of all my life.

The conviction of this lack came strong from God at the Desiring God pastor’s conference a couple of weeks ago with Joel Beeke’s message on family worship. In the panel discussion the day after that message, someone asked the speakers how well they fare in applying the principles Dr. Beeke taught from the example of the Puritans. Beeke himself claimed to have never failed in one day of 22 years of marriage to have prayed with his wife, even from the road when he travels! I felt about two inches tall.

Francis Chan, on the other hand, brought things back to the reality for most of us, I suspect, when he admitted he might pray with his bride once a week at best. He admitted that Beeke’s message hit him hard. No duh.

Then John Piper chimed in with his admission that he finds it easy to pray in public as a pastor but hard to pray in private with his wife. He added, “If we show in public an intimacy with the most important relationship we have vertically with God by the way we pray, but fail to demonstrate that in the most intimate relationship we have horizontally, something is amiss.” He got that right. Knock me down another inch.

So I came home from Minneapolis determined to do differently. Have to admit, last night, I dropped the ball again. Praise God for the gospel. But by and large the Lord has helped me take a different tack in our home and I am grateful.

How do I love thee, dear Nancy? Lord, help me to repent in the most grievous way I do not.

Dads in the Gap

Learned something I didn’t know before from the DG pastor’s conference this week.

Rick Husband, the commander of the Shuttle Columbia that disintegrated upon reentry to earth’s atmosphere back in February of 2003, loved Jesus and cared deeply for his wife and children.

Before he lifted off into space, Husband recorded a series of videos of him leading family worship for every one of the days he would spend away from them in space. He also led a weekly prayer group at his church called Dads in the Gap.

A portion of a videotape of his was played at the memorial service at his church. In it he said this:

If I ended up at the end of my life having been an astronaut, but having sacrificed my family along the way or living my life in a way that didn’t glorify God, then I would look back on it with great regret. Having become an astronaut would not really have mattered all that much. And I finally came to realize that what really meant the most to me was to try and live my life the way God wanted me to and to try and be a good husband to Evelyn and to be a good father to my children.

Joel Beeke referenced Husband and his passion for leading his home in family worship in a message well worth hearing by every family man.

You can listen to the audio here.

May God give us men who stand in the gap for their wives and children.